Google, Chrysler Tease Android-Based Infotainment System

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Ahead of this week's CES, Fiat Chrysler today teased an infotainment system running Android 7.0 Nougat.

The concept, which will be on display in Las Vegas this week inside a Chrysler 300 sedan, combines Google's mobile OS with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles's (FCA) existing Uconnect system, which provides touch-screen access to various apps on the dash.

"With Android, we are able to maintain our unique and intuitive Uconnect user interface, all while integrating our easy-to-use systems with Android's features and ecosystem of applications," Chris Barman, head of electrical engineering at FCA, said in a statement.

That customization gives Google and Android Auto a leg up on CarPlay from Apple, which likes to tightly control its products.

The move comes about two months after Google made Android Auto available to anyone with an Android device. Previously, drivers needed the Android Auto app and a compatible vehicle. But now those with Android Android 5.0+ devices can download the Android Auto app and plug into their cars for the full Android Auto experience.

With the FCA partnership, Android could be built into the dashboard from the start, providing drivers with quick access to apps like Google Maps, Pandora, Spotify, NPR One, and Pocket Casts. If you need help, the Google Assistant will be there, too.

Google has been working closely with FCA in the last year. As The Verge notes, we got a glimpse of this at Google I/O earlier this year, when Qualcomm and FCA showed off a Maserati Ghibli with a 4K touch screen running Android.

More recently, Google spun off its self-driving car project into an Alphabet division known as Waymo, which is currently working on an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

Expect more details about that and the infotainment system integration at CES this week. See the Chrysler 300 exhibit in the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center (#6306) from Thursday, Jan. 5 through Sunday, Jan. 8. FCA is also hosting a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, so stay tuned for all the details.

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